I don’t feel comfortable posting stepparenting content this week when there are much bigger issues to address right now. I even feel uncomfortable publishing another white voice in this moment of minority empowerment, but I’ve seen so many of you asking in our private Facebook community what you can do, wanting to learn, wanting to do better, and I’m right there with you.
There are conversations we should be having, there are actions we can be taking, and the time is now.
If you’re a white stepmom wondering what you can do for social justice, I hope this list helps!
10 Things White Stepmoms can do for Social Justice Right Now
Talk to your stepkids about race and racism.
Don’t sweep it under the rug. Don’t pretend it’s not happening.
Racism is real, and it’s still prevalent today. It is up to us to stand up for and alongside our Black, Brown, and People of Color sisters and brothers right now.
There are age-appropriate ways to discuss current events, oppression, and systemic racism with children. Here are a few resources I have found to be helpful:
- Your Kids Aren’t Too Young to Talk About Race: Resource Roundup by Pretty Good Design
- How to Talk to Your Kids about Racism, Race, and Activism by Collin County Moms
Don’t be afraid to say or do the wrong thing. If your heart is toward equality and you’re having the conversation, you’re on the right track.
We are combatting years of oppression and implicit bias. You won’t wake up one day and have all of the right things to say. Put in the work, try your best, and when you wake up tomorrow, get back to work.
This is also my excuse for not knowing all of the right things to say to you in this article. But I’m trying, and I know that’s better than sitting in silence. If you wait until you’re comfortable to talk about inequality, you’re waiting too long.
Get uncomfortable. Our Black sisters and brothers have been uncomfortable for hundreds of years, and now it’s our turn to get uncomfortable for them.
Don’t avoid researching the horrendous arrest of George Floyd or sidestep saying his name or any other victim’s name because it makes you uncomfortable.
Have tough conversations with your circle of influence. Stand up for what you believe in to your friends and family. Defend equality.
Read literature that makes you question your bias, your privilege.
Post your support publicly.
Staying comfortable and safe isn’t going to impact change, and the onus is truly on us as a white community to make that change happen.
Diversify your home.
Find toys, books, and on-screen media that feature characters who look differently than you and your family.
By exposing our children to families with different backgrounds or makeups than us, it endorses equality and sets the expectation that our circles shouldn’t remain white.
Here are a few resources to help you get started:
- The Ultimate Guide to Multicultural Toys and Black Dolls with Natural Hair
- Introduce Your Kid to More Diverse YouTube Game Streamers
- Representation Matters: 35 Black Kids TV Shows You Can Watch Right Now
- 31 Children’s books to support conversations on race, racism and resistance
One of the most important things we can be doing right now is getting educated to finally end racism by recognizing how we contribute to the problem. Take the time to learn from those who are actively working to inform us.
To get educated, we can read books, consume educational media, and do it all with an open mind.
Not sure where to start? I’ve got you covered:
- Looking for books about racism? Experts suggest these must-read titles for adults and kids
- Several Antiracist Books Are Selling Out. Here’s What Else Black Booksellers and Publishers Say You Should Read
- 11 Anti-Racist Social Media Accounts That Are Worth Following
- The Anti-Racist Podcast List
- Just Mercy: free to download through June
- 9 powerful shows and documentaries about racial injustice that are essential viewing
Recognize your privilege.
I know this can be an uncomfortable subject for many white people, but the reality is, our skin color does afford us a certain privilege.
That doesn’t mean things haven’t been tough. It doesn’t mean that we haven’t suffered. It simply means that our skin color is not one of things that has made our lives harder.
Here are some resources to better understand white privilege:
- What I Said When My White Friend Asked for My Black Opinion on White Privilege
- How to Be an Ally if You Are a Person with Privilege
- Understanding Race and Privilege
Part of acknowledging our privilege is recognizing that our Black peers often didn’t have the same financial advantage we have. Our ancestors started acquiring wealth off the backs of slaves, which served as the original impetus for the inequity we still see today.
Being intentional about where you spend your money can really help elevate the Black community.
- 77 Black-Owned Businesses to Support Right Now
- How to Find Black Owned Businesses to Support Near You
While we’re talking about money, I’d be remiss not to mention donating to causes that support equality, victims’ families, and bail for protesters and others who can’t afford bail.
This is a way for us to directly support those immediately impacted today.
- Reclaim the Block
- George Floyd’s Family GoFundMe / Breonna Taylor’s Family GoFundMe / Ahmaud Arbery’s Family GoFundMe
- Black Visions Collective
- The Bail Project
Speak up when you see something.
When I was at a protest two nights ago, I saw a sign that said “The biggest injustice is silence against injustice,” and it spoke to my soul.
When I took Psychology 101 for general education credit in college, I learned about the bystander effect, and it’s a phenomenon that plagues me. I often find myself in a situation wondering if the bystander effect is at play.
Psychology Today tells us, “The bystander effect occurs when the presence of others discourages an individual from intervening in an emergency situation, against a bully, or during an assault or other crime. The greater the number of bystanders, the less likely it is for any one of them to provide help to a person in distress. People are more likely to take action in a crisis when there are few or no other witnesses present.” (source)
In my life, I need to step up more and stop being a bystander of racism and inequality. I see this most prevalent on social media when I scroll past a friend or family member’s racist or ignorant post because I don’t want to rock the boat.
Have you been guilty of the same thing? It’s time for us to step up and say something. It’s our duty to use our privilege to help elevate others. It’s time to rock the boat.
Stop promoting being “color blind.”
There are some ways that we often respond to conversation around inequality that are generally unhelpful.
For example, while the notion of being “color blind” is most definitely coming from a heartfelt place, it works against social justice at this point.
You can’t address a problem that you’re blind to. Further, there is knowledge and power in acknowledging and embracing our differences.
Similarly, while I agree that all lives matter, all races aren’t disproportionately incarcerated, abused, and killed. I don’t believe many of the people who respond to the Black Lives Matter movement with “All lives matter” intend to be malicious, but it’s important to realize that this statement, no matter how pure the intentions behind it are, works against change toward equality.
It has become an antithesis to Black Lives Matter. Change for Black people is change for all people. All lives can’t matter until Black lives matter.
I know so many of us have our hearts in the right place and want to see change, and we can start by changing the way we talk and the phrases we us that can covertly or overtly undercut the racism that exists today.
Contact your government officials.
And last, but certainly not least, call on the government for change. VOTE. Let your voice be heard.
Contact government officials who can enact change on the systems that are currently broken.
Write to your police chief and local government officials to call for body cameras to be turned on when officers respond to a police call.
Address your state officials about reducing mandatory minimum sentences that disproportionately affect minorities.
Use your voice for real systematic change. Together, we have a powerful voice that is hard to ignore, but you have to step up to let it be known this isn’t okay.
Like I said in the beginning, I’m not totally comfortable using my white voice to educate on social justice right now. But I’m more uncomfortable not saying anything. I’m more uncomfortable staying silent and not sharing what I know can make an impact.
Are you uncomfortable sitting in silence too? Let’s make a difference and stand up for our Black sisters and brothers!